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FAQ - Custom Vacuum Forming

Below are some answers to frequently asked questions about custom vacuum formed parts.

Which method is most suitable for my part - injection moulding or vac forming ?

This depends on your part. As a guide - use vac forming if parts thickness is uniform, A4 paper size or more & the annual quantities needed are low (10-5000) OR use injection moulding if parts wall thickness differs, is less than A4 paper size & annual quantities needed are medium-high (1000-100,000+)

I have CAD files of my vac forming parts - are the files of use to you ?

We can use them to carry out a quote, create tool drawings & even make vac forming tools saving you both time and money - DXF, DWG, IGES, Pro-Engineer, Parasolid & SolidWorks are all usable.

I have an existing vac forming but no CAD data, can you still quote ?

Yes, we need a sample, sketch, drawing or photo of your parts with sizes plus the internal box sizes if your parts must fit inside a packaging box. Please also confirm the plastic material types or thickness needed OR properties you need the parts to have e.g. UV light resistance, working temperature of XXºc and the batch quantities, colours or transparency needed. If you prefer, contact us or complete our Quote Request Form which lists the information we need.

What is the maximum size of vac forming that you can make ?

Our largest vac forming machine has a maximum capacity of 1330 x 620 x 406 mm and so, the largest vacuum formed part that we could make would be around 1300 x 600 mm, dependent on the depth of part required.

Wooden or Aluminium vac forming tools - which do you recommend for custom vacuum formed parts ?

We recommend aluminium tools as they last longer, process quicker & produce higher quality vacuum formed parts than wooden tools and are better for clear or deep pocketed vacuum formed parts.  However, for lower quantities or budgets, wooden tools can be made quickly & at lower cost.

I've made a vac forming tool - if I send it to you, can you use it to make vacuum formed parts for me ?

Provided the vac forming tool is finished well & has suitable draft angles, we should be able to use it to make your custom vacuum formed parts. Have a look at our vacuum forming design guide.

I've got existing vac forming tools - can you use them to make vacuum formings for me ?

If your parts are within our vac forming capacity, we should be able fit your tools in our machines & make your custom vacuum formed parts.

Do you make tools for other companies to use to make custom vac formings ?

As long as the parts are within our vac forming capacity so we can test the tools - we also modify and repair existing tools. In both cases, we prefer to make the vacuum formed parts as well so that you benefit from our experience & quality control.

I'd like product ID, text instructions or logos on my custom vacuum formed parts - is this possible ?

We can engrave text or logos on vac forming tools to be either recessed or stood up on your custom vacuum formed parts (see our special features guide) or we can hot foil or pad print on your custom vacuum formed parts after vac forming - we can also do this for injection moulding.

I need a particular finish on my vacuum formed parts - is this possible ?

This depends on the material type & size that you need for your custom vacuum formed parts, but acrylic capped, brushed, carbon fibre effect, gloss, leathergrain, matt, mirrored, pinseal & UV stable finishes are available - see our special vacuum forming features guide).

What colour & material options are available for custom vacuum formed parts ?

Again, this depends on the material type & size you need for your custom vacuum formed parts, but black, clear, grey & white materials are freely available & there is a range of standard colours for HIPS material.  Material can be colour matched to an existing part, but minimum quantities apply. Various materials are available including ABS, HDPE, HIPS, PETG, PC, PP, PVC & STYROLUX.

My vacuum forming is made in 1 mm material. Why is it less than 1 mm thick in places ?

Whilst the plastic sheet may have been 1 mm thick before forming, the vac forming process heats, stretches & forms these sheets over a wooden / aluminium tool in order to make the finished vacuum formed parts.  This process reduces the vac forming in section, although this can be minimised by careful vacuum forming design, e.g. reducing pockets depths, using 5° - 10° draft angles on side walls & large (3 mm+) curves/radii on pockets and avoiding very narrow slots.

My existing supplier has ceased trading and I don't have the vac forming tool. I have a sample vacuum formed part, can you help ?

Provided the vacuum formed part is in good condition, we could use it to make a resin cast tool to save you time & money.



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